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Whole Body Barefoot: Transitioning Well to Minimal Footwear

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  637 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Barefoot enthusiasts say ditching your shoes is essential for optimal whole-body function. Doctors say minimalist shoes cause injury. Who’s right? What if they both are?

In Whole Body Barefoot, biomechanist Katy Bowman explains how both sides are right and wrong by broadening the perspective of over-simplified "shoes are good" or "shoes are bad" arguments. Using evolution
Paperback, 137 pages
Published April 5th 2015 by Propriometrics Press (first published March 17th 2015)
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Average rating 4.35  · 
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 ·  637 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having spent nearly a year trying to digest all Bowman's work, I have a hard time separating out how this book stands on its own. As usual, Bowman is charming, informative, funny, and practical. I suppose this book is a more mature and more universal "Every Woman's Guide to Foot Pain Relief." At any rate, it gave me continued motivation to pay attention to my body and to work strengthening movements into my daily life. ...more
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
This extremely thin book could be boiled down to a few pages pamphlet. The author writes in a very rambling style and kind of wastes a lot of words, but there are really just a handful of main points- wear shoes less, don't wear heels, start walking on dirt and rocks, but get into barefoot walking slowly so you don't get injured. Then there are some pages of stretches to do to help. The content is 50-75% overlap with her book "Simple Steps to Foot Pain", with the "Whole Body Barefoot" having mor ...more
David Jr.
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I always thought about putting together some sort of instruction about how to transition to minimalist shoes. Of course, I never did, which is a good thing because someone way more qualified than me did and she did a much better job of it too! Katy Bowman’s Whole Body Barefoot is the perfect guide to make the transition.

This is the second time Katy has caused me to break my “read it and pass it on” rule for books. Whole Body Barefoot is yet another tool that needs to be in my Wellness Practitio
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a gift from AnnMarie!

It's essentially a breakdown of the reasoning behind minimalist footwear and how wearing shoes of various types (along with other societal habits like sitting all day) can be the cause of various physical pains and problems we deal with.

The book is fairly well written both in explanations of the ideas (and quite humorous at times), and implementations of exercise to correct form. I haven't proceeded to employ all of the exercises to correct form, but I'll definitel
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Clear, motivational overview of the science and rationale behind transitioning to minimal/zero-rise shoes/barefoot living, along with practical exercises. I read it eagerly in an hour and am excited to continue this lifestyle change.
Alix St Amant
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you have human feet, you need to read this book!! I can already see, through implementing some things from this book, how the health of my feet is contributing to my chronic neck pain. Katy, as always, wrote with humor, wit, and easy to understand scientific information.
Alex Linschoten
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All of Katy Bowman's books are calls to action, and this is no different. Readers of her previous foot book (Every Woman's Guide to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet) will recognise much, if not all, of this book. Nevertheless, I think she'll find new readers with this book, if only because of the new title. As usual, it's filled with lots on why feet (and their alignment) are so important to the rest of the body. ...more
Sarah Bayless
Jul 20, 2015 rated it liked it
The book has a lot of good information but is mostly pictures of exercises to try. I have no problem with movement (hence buying the book) but I don't really learn well from pictures of movement. This book would have been better from the library then an actual buy. ...more
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Every human who has feet should read this book and do what Katy says.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This could be one of the most urgent and empowering books that our society needs for body health. It is very simple and accessible to read, presents balanced perspectives (doesn't outright tell you to switch to barefoot), and is relevant to almost everyone in the world today (unless you live in the forest!)

It explains scientifically and concisely how modern society has changed our posture causing injuries, through cushioned shoes and flat surfaced environment. It explains how the body is interco
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible, read-in-2018
I stumbled on Katy Bowman through a podcast I listen to (Slow Your Home) and immediately downloaded her podcast, dove into her website, and purchased two of her books on Audible. She's amazing. I'm a person that avoided as much biology in school as possible and has never taken an anatomy class. Bowman is easy to understand, really down-to-earth about her subject matter and how to implement changes in a "normal" world and best of all, she's a riot. I highly recommend her to everyone and I challen ...more
Andrea Balfour
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great book and a great resource that I will use again and again. I have plantar fasciitis and doctors don't know what they're doing with shots and medicine. Katy, like I wish more people would, understands that each part of our body is not on its own - it's all connected. This book describes how the way you carry your body can affect your feet, how the strength of your legs affects your feet and how you constantly walk on hard surfaces with malaligned shoewear affects your feet. This book ...more
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bowman's program seems very thorough and biomechanically supported and I'm definitely interested in giving it a try.

That being said, as for the other aspects of the book, I'm not a huge fan of her style of writing (specifically her joke-like interjections), but to each their own, I suppose.

I do believe that the layout didn't need to have testimonials added throughout the book. The testimonials added nothing in my opinion, but and in fact they somewhat detracted from the content because they bro
Jenny Preston
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfic
Bowman's work is interesting to me, but this little book wasn't much. The first part where she discusses why barefoot is repetitive. The exercises fill the bulk of the book and seem good but the black and white pictures with shadows and dark backgrounds are lacking in clarity. If you are interested in the very narrow focus - how to transition to minimal footwear - it meets it's goal, but I was looking for more theory and research. I'm reading Move Your DNA next and hope that meets more what I wa ...more
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, running
Really should have learned my lesson after listening to move my DNA on audio, you need the book for the exercise pictures.

Content-wise, a good quick read to throw at anyone who starts making claims (from either side) about footwear and running styles, especially if thy're ignoring the context.

PS: Concrete is everywhere and concrete is the worst. (This is not the book per say, just thought everyone should know) Concrete is terrible.
Sep 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Informative but rather short. Part of the book is even repeated twice - the exercises along with the photos, can't see any other reason for it as to make it look longer. As I've been reading about barefoot and minimalist shoes (and walking and running in them as well for some time - together with doing some exercises), I don't believe I have learned anything really new. But for someone with no prior knowledge a good place to start. ...more
Helen S-b
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Makes so much sense!

Having recently sustained a serious sprained ankle, I spent my incarceration searching for why I, as a relatively fit and healthy person, had turned my ankle so easily on an uneven surface. The answers are all here!

My barefoot shoes are on the way, and the practical exercises logged and started. I now have a keen interest in body mechanics, so will be reading Katy's other books too.
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
barefoot shoes have gotten an undeserved bad rap - most injuries have been caused by jumping in too fast to minimalist shoes without any understanding of or practice in preparing or transitioning. This excellent little book teaches simple exercises to strengthen you feet to prepare them for minimalist footwear and just feeling good in your own bare feet.
Kirsten stracke
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So good! I’ve been a big believer in the barefoot philosophy ever since I knew there was such a thing. Our whole family wears almost exclusively barefoot/minimalist shoes and yet I’m still surprised by reading this book how much our environment and artificial surfaces and artificial footwear affect our health.
Sean Mccarthy
Just what I wanted!

Felt like 'Born to Run' was more of a cult than backed by science and a progressive introduction to minimalist footwear. This book blew me away in how concise but information packed it was. Read it over 2 sessions. Got plenty of exercises to introduce now. Enjoy
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was part of my Required Reading for Yoga Therapy Training. Like several other reviews have mentioned, it does seem a little bare bones, however, I feel like it accomplishes the goal of teaching one to transition to minimal footwear. I look forward to integrating some of the exercises into my (and my clients') practices ...more
Preston Smith
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
What if I told you that I read an incredibly funny book that is sophisticatedly written, based on real scientific data, easy-to-understand, and practical enough for daily use? You’d probably think I was crazy, but I’m not! Whole Body Barefoot is such a book, and I would strongly encourage every bipedal human being on the planet to pick up a copy.

I am guessing that you might be wondering what this book is all about. As the title indicates, it’s about our feet, but it’s more than that. Whole Body
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very comprehensive book on healing your body and biomechanics through footwear. Unfortunately the audiobook version of this book is a bit difficult to follow. I have ordered the hardbound copy in order to review and share.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health
Good, simple, short and to the point.
Sometimes it felt like it could have been a really good and complete blog post but... ok, the lady makes a living out of this merchandising.

Recommended if you are looking for further information on barefoot health and live style.
Brittany Finnegan
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love that she gets into the connection between our feet and shoe choices and issues many of us face with the rest of our bodies. Lots of pictures to explain how to do the exercises, although I’m still not quite sure if I’m doing them all correctly.
Chaiya ElisaBeth
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
How and why you should stop buying crappy shoes and start caring for your transport vehicle. Includes exercise for pain/ailments (which is why I bought the book). Probably disagrees with everything your average PT has every told you. YMMV
Carrie Ridgeway
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book for learning to transition to more minimal shoes. Lots of exercises to do.
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is mostly a "how to" book for relieving foot problems ...more
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A short read, but packed with great info and exercises.
Annie Lawrence
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Eye opening and compelling. So much about my foot pain seems clear to me now. Just wish I’d heard of this book sooner! Read this book and then take a long, hard look at the shoes in your closet.
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Katy Bowman has earned an international reputation for educating the general population on alignment and load-science, and as a result has helped thousands to reduce pain, increase bone density, improve metabolic health, and solve their pelvic floor mysteries. She is known for her radical, counter-culture health directives that happen to be based in the hard science that she has made her life’s wo ...more

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“It might be challenging to consider “5 degrees of range of motion” to be a real part, but keep in mind that as mobility is lost, so is the ultimate function of the machinery of the foot—of any machine, really. Would you accept wheels on your car that only rotated 355°?” 0 likes
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